In 4 more years I'll be able to join a senior class at the fitness center. I don't look anywhere near old enough for that, but those foxy old ladies can outlast me by miles. I watched one old woman today do 6 1/2 miles at a dead run on a recumbent elliptical. Found out at the stretch cage she's 78. I did 15 minutes of 60 steps/min at workload '3' on a recumbent nustep, my best yet. After that I did 20 reps of 25 lbs on one weight machine and then 25 lbs on the lateral thigh thing both ways, and I knew I'd better stop. I still had to walk back through another building to get to my car in another parking lot nowhere near the fitness center. Better time my next visit a little better to avoid the cougar pack.
I remember trying to become a mall walker about 25 years ago. I was a young mother in college, but barely able to walk from class to class, and I thought maybe trying to get more exercise would help. The entire mall circuit was right around a mile, and most of the old people could do it in 20 minutes. It took me an hour when I finally did reach the point where I could handle a complete circuit, about 3 months into it at 3X a week. It was so weird, old people zipping past me making comments, while I forced my smiles and jokes back.
I've been crippled since I was 19. I'm able to hide it as long as I don't have to do anything beyond a fixed range of motion and speed. Most people have no clue how sick I feel from the pain that surges around my body at every motion. And I don't want them to. There is nothing more annoying than the awkwardness around neither them or me not knowing what to say beyond the usual "You're too young for that" and "Yeah, it sucks, but what do you do?" I've just learned not to talk about it. Spinal injuries are funny things. You don't have to break a bone to feel broken. The nerve damage is a roller coaster thing, sometimes you do pretty good, and sometimes you cycle through another rough patch.
I get a kick out of old people racing around like they are racing death. It's amusing when someone who is 78 can fling themselves around a gym like a stunt double and then complain that they're still fat after all that and they don't even drink pop. I may never be able to power walk through Walmart, but at least I'm not stuck using those complimentary motor carts any more. I finally caved to that for about 3 years, and I think everyone was relieved when I started cycling back up again. I'm a terrible driver. I once took out a wine display in a grocery store and had employees running over in their little aprons from every corner.
Anyway, I feel really good about how long I lasted today. I can handle about 30 minutes of exercise now, plus walking both ways through parking lots. Two years ago I was thrilled to be able to walk for ten minutes before I had to stop. Five years ago I needed help getting into a shower and getting dressed.
And I feel awesome that no one has a clue I'm over 50. Nice to have that if I can't pump elliptical like a maniac cougar.